United Had Advance Signs That Plane Would Almost Ignite Olsen Twin

You may remember the United Airlines flight from last May that could have resulted in a burnt Olsen twin if the pilots hadn’t reacted so quickly to a cockpit fire. Well, newly released documents from the National Transportation Safety Board show that there had been at least two related incidents on that same plane in the days leading up to the fire.

The flight was about 30 minutes out of New York when it flames began to shoot from the cockpit window. The pilot was able to extinguish the fire but the flames came back a second time before the plane made its emergency landing at Dulles International outside of Washington, D.C.

According to the Associated Press, earlier that day the United pilot who had flown the plane to NYC had reported fumes and an overheated electrical connection that appeared to be charred.

This pilot says he pointed out the charred connection to a mechanic at JFK.

From the AP:

The mechanic, also interviewed by investigators, said he OK’d the plane to fly without repairs because United’s maintenance manual says planes can be flown another 50 hours after a blackened or burned window heater electrical connector had been found. A blackened, burned or hot electrical connection is a sign of uncontained electricity, which can cause fires.

The pilot also told investigators that this same plane had made an unscheduled landing in Vegas a day earlier because of smoke and fumes in the cockpit.

A rep for the airline tells the AP, “We did a full inspection and believed the plane was flight worthy.”

The cause of the overheating was ultimately traced back to a loose screw.